Edison International launches Edison Scholars Program

Edison International launches Edison Scholars Program

Yulan Lin and Francisco Sepulveda

Cal State L.A. students Yulan Lin and Francisco Sepulveda are the first recipients of the Edison Scholars program scholarships. Photo courtesy Edison International.

Edison International logo

Recognized for their academic excellence and passion for the sciences, Cal State L.A. senior Yulan Lin and freshman Francisco Sepulveda were selected as the first scholarship recipients of the Edison Scholars program in April.

Funded by a $1 million endowment from Edison International, the Edison Scholars program provides financial support for students in the Honors College, a competitive interdisciplinary program for students pursuing advanced degrees.

"Through Edison's support, gifted CSULA Honors College students will have the opportunity to become better leaders within their chosen (science, technology, engineering and math) fields," says President James M. Rosser. "These segments of the workforce are not only on the front line of the strengthening economy, but also enable other industries to function at the high technological level today's workforce demands."

Lin and Sepulveda will receive scholarship support annually until they graduate.

Lin, a chemistry major, began college at 13 through the Early Entrance Program. Currently, she is conducting research with Cal State L.A. Professor Yong Ba and Caltech Professor Julie Kornfield. In her free time, she enjoys music, singing with the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, and volunteering with the Saturday Conservatory of Music.

"I've always loved learning, and wanted to know more about life at the molecular level," says Lin. "Although I'm not sure what I want to study in the future, I love the freedom I have to ask questions in the sciences, and the tools I am given to pursue the answers."

Sepulveda, a biology major, plans to pursue a master's degree in forensic science.

"I chose to attend CSULA because it was close to home and has one of the best criminalistics programs," he says.

He is the first in his family to attend college. At the press conference announcing the scholarships, his father got emotional while speaking to Spanish media about the impact this will have on Sepulveda's future and their family.

"My mom had to find a job to help pay for my education," Sepulveda says. "Now, with this award, it will be easier for me to pay for school and not have to worry about being tight on money."

In addition to the $1 million endowment for the CSULA Edison Scholars program, Edison International has helped raise another $1 million in gifts and pledges for the Honors College.

Sneak peek at TV, Film, and Media Center

TV, Film, and Media Center

The TV, Film, and Media Center is located in University Hills, across from the University-Student Union.

Soundproofing material is up, recording consoles are being installed and the studio light is almost in use at the campus' latest addition, the Television, Film, and Media Center.

Under the direction of College of Arts and Letters Dean Peter McAllister, the facility was specifically developed to provide creative students everything required to take their ideas from process to finished product. It will house a state-of-the-art post-production suite with recording studio, a two-story sound stage, theatre seating screening room and computer video laboratory classrooms.

The plan to renovate this University Hills building (formerly owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) for use by the Television, Film and Media Department is 20 years in the making, President James M. Rosser explained at the State of the University Address in May. Rosser admitted it took years of gentle persuasion to convince church leaders to sell the building to the University, but he refused to let up.

The long wait will be worth it as the new facility will give faculty new teaching opportunities and connect students in the undergraduate and graduate degree programs to best practices in the entertainment industry.

"We will hang projectors in the sound stage to allow for Hollywood screenings, and bring in experts from the entertainment industry to talk about their projects. We've never had a facility that could accommodate that. To bring people in to talk to students about making TV shows and films … there are so many new possibilities," says department chair Suzanne Regan.

The center will open to students in fall quarter and a grand opening gala later in the year will officially establish it on campus.


Nongshim America pledges $300,000 to entrepreneurship at Cal State L.A.

Dakuto Shitamura

Dakuto Shitamura won first place in the Nongshim Fastpitch with his presentation for Fish Gobble, a sustainable fish food business.

Nongshim logo

Nongshim America, Inc., a global food company, has committed $300,000 to entrepreneurship at Cal State L.A. The contribution will be made available for student-centered marketing and business projects, campus events, student scholarships, faculty research, community involvement, and the development of the Nongshim Innovation Lab. The laboratory is being created to educate, train, launch and mobilize young student entrepreneurs pursuing outreach activities under the leadership of the campus' Global Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The first event sponsored by Nongshim America, the Nongshim FastPitch on May 28, attracted students from across the University-in business, engineering, arts and letters, and other disciplines-who pitched their most innovative business ideas in 90 seconds to a panel of seasoned investors.

First place winner Dakuto Shitamura (pictured above) took home a $5,000 prize for his pitch to provide sustainable feed for aquaculture farmers and ornamental fish breeders. His startup business, www.fishgobble.com, sells alternative food that fish consume in their native environments, such as phytoplankton, nematode worms, and annelid worms, rather than the dried pellets found in traditional pet stores.

Shitamura has been breeding fish since age 13, when his pet guppies had babies for the first time.

"It was a natural thing. Guppies don't lay eggs. Every month or so, they have a brood of 20 to 30 baby fry. I was kind of forced into raising them at 13," he says. "I noticed a need for sustainable aquaculture feed, so I decided to build a store to supply all the other fish keepers and farmers."

Shitamura, a computer information systems major, launched the website himself and runs production out of his garage, which reduces startup costs but limits his capacity for sales. He plans to invest the contest money in equipment upgrades to expand production.

The full scope of the Nongshim program will be expanded at a celebratory event in the fall that will include students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of L.A.'s entrepreneurial business community.


Student veterans adopt military section of Evergreen Cemetery

student volunteer cleans headstone

A student volunteer cleans a headstone during a visit to the Evergreen Cemetery in December.

Appearances are important in the military. A neat uniform, well-trimmed hair and ready equipment signify professionalism, discipline, unity and pride.

So tending to the gravesites of soldiers at Evergreen Cemetery seems like a suitable way for Cal State L.A.'s student-veteran club to uphold that tradition while paying tribute to those who served the nation.

The concept for the community service project came from a former student veteran who learned of the cemetery while attending a screening of ABC-7 news anchor David Ono's documentary on the Congressional Medal of Honor. The section near a memorial to the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team had been neglected and overgrown with weeds. So he pitched the CSULA Student Veterans Organization (SVO) on adopting the cemetery.

"The idea of beautifying this cemetery, which is right in our campus' backyard, was presented to the SVO club as a way to respect these brave soldiers who sacrificed for our country," says Laura Shigemitsu, director of the University's Veterans Affairs Office.

The club's members, who are mostly military veterans themselves, voted in favor of informally adopting the cemetery and launching the project.

Established in 1877, Evergreen is one of the oldest cemeteries in the Greater Los Angeles area and is the final resting site for several World War II veterans. The monument dedicated to the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit that served in WWII, as well as those who died while on duty during the Korean War, was installed at the cemetery on Memorial Day in 1949.

Four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team-Joe Hayashi, Sadao Munemori, Kiyoshi K. Muranaga and Ted T. Tanouye-are interred there.

Since December, the SVO members visit monthly to trim back brush, clear debris and clean headstones.

"I find it truly rewarding to be able to contribute to cleaning up the gravestones of WWII veterans and Medal of Honor recipients," says business finance major Mark Kleinsmith, a retired sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. "It is part of the military tradition to give back, as well as to honor those who passed before you."

For more on the cleanup effort, go to /univ/ppa/spotlight/archive/2012/evergreen-gevets.php.